Focal Point’s 2nd Show of the Fall

An old building on Grand River and Abbot was demolished. A humbling story on a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor. Plus a recap of the U of M and MSU football game. Those stories and more on Focal Point.

Will an abandoned Buffalo train station see a second life?

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Central Terminal, a 523,000 square foot and 271-foot-tall abandoned train station in the middle of Buffalo’s East Side, served as a booming hub of activity for thousands of traveling people starting in 1929. As years passed, increase in interstate highway systems and a decrease in population put the train station out of business and the final train pulled away in October 1979. Today, it sits abandoned in the middle of a blight and run down neighborhood, isolated from the improving downtown area. One of the main reasons why the Central Terminal has not been redeveloped yet by any group or private investor is because of its location in the East Side of Buffalo. Sam Hoyt, Democratic politician and Regional President of the Empire State Development Corp., explains why the location of the historic building has had an enormous effect on its redevelopment.

Chinese cities deal with extreme smog, haze

XI’AN, China — The smog and haze issue in China has been a problem for many years, and recently it has become a severe problem. It has the potential to ruin a healthy life for millions of civilians. The concept of environmental pollution is still very unclear to a mass majority of the population. Out of many cities in China suffering from the issue and its consequences, Xi’an residents are tired of living their life in a town full of smog and is ready to take action. “It’s just an average day, I didn’t even realize that the haze is still there,” said Xi’an resident Yu Liu.

REO Town community finds its post-industrial place in the world

 

REO Town, a Lansing district located south of downtown, is considered the United States birthplace of the commercial automobile. The district is named after Ransom Eli Olds, an entrepreneur who founded the REO Motor Car Company in 1905. From 1905 to 1975, a major manufacturing plant for the REO Motor Car Company was located in REO Town. The plant gave a significant financial boost to the district, supplying both jobs and outside interest. Since production ceased in 1975, the automotive industry has remained the major employer in REO Town, with more than 2,000 workers employed by the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant.

Detroit; an abandoned city?

DETROIT — The city of Detroit has been going though abandonment issues since as early as the 1960’s. Around 70,000 buildings, 31,000 homes, and 90,000 vacant lots all abandoned in Detroit. Once upon a time this was a city that was made to prosper thanks to the automative industry. Now, it has become known as a city full of urban decay. Megan Harder resident of Warren, Michigan a city right on the border of Detroit talks about her experiences driving through the city.

Lansing’s struggle for better roads

 

The poor road conditions have made commuting in Lansing difficult for many residents and employees who drive in the city. City Chief Operating Officer and Director of Public Service Chad Gamble is very aware of the road conditions affecting these residents and employees. “Certainly commuting affects their vehicle, the quality of the vehicle, the life of the vehicle, the safety of their trip, the time it takes them to get there; it’s something we’ve been working on for decades,” Gamble said. The slow maintenance of roads in the area is due to the lack of funding and high cost of maintaining roads, particularly in the state of Michigan. The annual street funding for the City of Lansing dropped significantly between 2009 and 2010 and has yet to make a comeback 7 years later.

Residents fear new Whole Foods store will cause “havoc” in suburban Detroit neighborhood

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — A brand-new Whole Foods store in this Detroit suburb is slated to open in October 2017. The new store is replacing an older and much smaller Whole Foods that was located in Troy. The just-built 46,000 square-feet store is almost double the size of the previous location. In an announcement released by Whole Foods, Midwest regional president Michael Bashaw commented on the new store: “Now we have the opportunity to improve our service to our customers with a larger store with a much larger selection.”

This larger selection will include a juice bar, more ready-to-eat meals, seafood smoked and bacon made on-site as well as a bakery preparing fresh bread and pastries.

Lansing setting a foundation for startup businesses

Economic growth has expanded in the city of Lansing and the city has become a prime location for entrepreneurship. The community has set a foundation of resources for startup companies in order to help new businesses thrive in the Lansing area. Neil Kane is an expert in entrepreneurship and startup companies as he is the director of undergraduate entrepreneurship at Michigan State University. In regards to the economic growth in Lansing, Kane said, “There’s a lot of development going on in the area, a lot of real estate development, new apartments going up. That’s got to be good news.”

In fact,  the Greater Lansing Association of Realtors market data shows that the number of active single-family, condominium and town home listings at the end of each month has increased in the last year.

Lansing aiming to be “vibrant, walkable”

Lansing is best known for being the capital of Michigan, but, it’s also the location for numerous businesses and companies. But for many it seems as though the city is not their home, opting for longer commutes to work as opposed to living in the city. A majority of the restaurants and bars in the area close before dinner time only offering regular hours for late night food and drink during the weekend. Smaller niche businesses pepper the city and keep consistent crowds and regular customers at night while the Lansing Lugnuts provide mid to late day entertainment, but neither has been enough to revitalize the city. “We need a vibrant, walkable urban area that is cool and attractive to all walks of life,” said Scott Gillespie, president of Gillespie Company.

Old Town starts to squeeze beyond its borders; is that a good thing?

What is Old Town Lansing? The old neighborhood may be stretching beyond its original boundaries. Those who live and work here are really trying to expand what people think of as Old Town. For example, the Golden Harvest and Ozone’s Brewhouse to the north; Scoop’s, Strings n Things and Elderly Instruments to the west; and Preuss Pets and Zoobie’s to the east are all a part of town, according to Matt Hund, Old Town Commercial Association board member. But it’s not as simple as simply extending borders.